Google phones to go on sale soon in Australia, Singapore

The first smartphones in Australia and Singapore to be armed with Google’s Android mobile OS and software were unveiled on Thursday.

High Tech Computer (HTC) of Taiwan, which developed the first handset for Android, launched its ‘Dream’ smartphone with Singapore Telecommunications. SingTel is the largest mobile phone service provider in Singapore and owns Optus, which will offer the smartphones in Australia.

The first version of the Dream was announced last September by T-Mobile in the U.S., in tandem with Google and HTC. T-Mobile calls it the G1.

The Dream will be available from Optus starting Feb. 16 with plans that start at A$59 per month plus the cost of the handset, according to the company’s Web site.

Singaporeans will have to wait a bit longer. SingTel said pricing and availability of the handsets will be announced at a later date.

The HTC Dream has a 3.2-inch touchscreen, a full QWERTY keyboard and a 3.2-megapixel camera, and can handle flash memory cards up to 8GB. The smartphone includes a host of software developed around the Android OS and platform and is aimed at people who want to surf the Internet via their handset. The device and software are designed to work well with Google offerings such as Google Maps and Street View, as well as other applications.

The smartphones work on 3G mobile networks and can also access the Internet wirelessly via Wi-Fi.

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